Day 16 – Mount SUTD Summit
This was it – the day of our summit attempt. All that we have worked hard for since May 2012 was now a reality. We woke up feeling groggy but ready to go. We all wondered if we could make it to the summit, as the estimated time for the summit attempt would be 8 hours long. This would be the longest summit attempt we have ever done. Nonetheless, we will still push on.
At 0130 hours the weather was good, and we were good to go. We had a serving of piping hot noodles, and then proceeded to gear up. We wore our harnesses, helmets, and set the ropes. By 0230 hours, we started the climb.
Raymond and Samuel having some maggi mee
Samuel wearing his boots
Ozgun enjoying his maggi mee
Andrew wearing his boots
Daniel adjusting his climbing gear
Raymond fixing his knot
Samuel running through the rope
Javier preparing the rope
Raymond securing the rope onto himself
Ozgun preparing to rope up
The first hour was torturous. It was pitch black and the rocks were loose. It was hard to get a good footing. The weather was fine and at 0330 hours, we arrived at the first rock hump. We climbed to the top of the hump and arrived at a ridge. The ridge had an average breadth of about 3m and we made our way across slowly. At certain sections, the ridge was only 1m wide and it was quite terrifying. All we could see to our left and right were steep drops off the cliff. A single misstep could prove fatal.
At 0700 hours, we arrived at the second rock hump. We were now at approximately 5700m above sea level now and every step was very tiring. We had to stop a few times to take a breather. We didn’t climb to the top of the rock hump this time as it would be technical and dangerous. Instead, we traversed the side of the rock hump. This was in no way less dangerous, as it was a steep drop on our right. We took extra precaution and attached our carabiners to the fixed rope.
At about 5700m now
Raymond securing himself to the fixed rope
Skirting around the rock hump
Edwin with the beautiful scenery behind him
Following that, we arrived at the saddle of Mt. SUTD. We were 200m in elevation away from our objective. We were tired, but we knew that the end was near. All we had to do was to overcome a 200m high slope of snow with gradients of up to 70 degrees. It was about 0900 hours by this time and we had our breakfast of biscuits and breakfast bars.
Yong Siang and Samuel at the foot of Mount SUTD
Shortly after, we put on our crampons and began the ascent. We were thankful for the sunny weather, as cold weather would make us more susceptible to frost bite. It was even too warm sometimes! Taking breaks during the ascent proved to be a challenge, as there was no flat ground. We had to cut a snow step before we could sit. At certain sections, it was solid ice and it was impossible to cut a seat. All we could do was to cut a small little step and rest our feet.
Making our way up
After an arduous 2-hour climb, at 1215 hours, we arrived at the summit of Mt. SUTD. It was a brutal 10-hour summit push, and I was glad that all of us made it. Two years of hard work has finally come to an end. We were all tired, but we were all smiling. We took out whatever food we had left and ate it, while enjoying the beautiful scenery from the summit of Mt. SUTD.
Daniel and Bansi
Clouds covering the sun and Mount SUTD in sight
Edwin would always say: “Going up is optional, coming down is mandatory.” We have all made it to the top, but we must now descend. More importantly, descend safely. We used whatever energy we had left to focus and make sure we set up our ropes correctly before descending. Fixing the belay devices wrongly was very dangerous.
Raymond and Samuel celebrating their partnership with a handshake
Yong Siang, Andrew, and Ozgun sharing their moment of joy
Yi Qian (shag liao), Daniel smiling widely, and Javier giving a funny pose on the summit of Mount SUTD
The team on Mount SUTD
A rare shot with Wei Zhen in the picture!
We began our descent at 1300 hours. The weather also turned for the worse at this time. It started snowing heavily and our vision was greatly reduced. The clouds came in and we could barely see 50m ahead of us. There was also this strange buzzing noise in our ear. Edwin said that this came from the static in the air, and we had to descend as quickly as possible. Our risk of getting struck by lightning was substantially higher. We pushed ourselves to descend as quickly as we could, and finally arrived at summit camp at 1730 hours.
Snowing heavily on the way down
The 15-hour long round trip was finally over. All we had for the past 15 hours was probably a few small cups of noodles and 5 breakfast bars. We burnt much more calories than we consumed, which I’m sure we will all compensate for back at Manali. We could not believe that it was over. Some were so tired, that they slept immediately, without having any food. As for me, I had some noodles and rice, before turning in. Our mission was accomplished, and I can finally rest. More importantly, rest with no worries at all.
Enjoying noodles at Summit Camp. Mission Accomplished.
Mount SUTD with our tracks on the snow slope